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Fermentation frenzy

I brewed 10 gallons of Black Honey Ale this past Sunday, taking my 2005 year total to 175 gallons. The stuff was done fermenting yesterday, 48 hours later. Last night I added 4 pounds of honey to the primaries (2 lbs each), and within 10 minutes the airlocks were going nuts again, and tonight – done. Servomyces, pure O2, and some serious yeast starters have kicked my fermentations into overdrive – its incredible. My flavors and yeast aromatics have never been this good either… I’m really pleased with my system and techniques now.

And so – I will play with my techniques some. Two things have really been bothering me about my all-grain brews so far:

  1. I can’t seem to brew a pale ale that isn’t somewhat hazy.
  2. Some of my beers have awful head retention, particularly the dubbels and tripels I’ve brewed.

So, being the kind of guy I am I went online and found something I could potentially do to kill two birds with one stone – Add another step in my mash regimen. A 30 minute protein rest at 125 to 130 will break down the longer protein chains largely responsible for chill haze into smaller ones, reducing the problem. These shorter protein chains are also supposedly very good for improving head retention – so hell yeah!

I’m going to try the new protein rest step in two of my upcoming beers, an Abbey Dubbel and my Homegrown Pale Ale. The current brewing schedule for the rest of 2005 includes:

  • 5 gallons of Oak Aged Vanilla Porter
  • 5 gallons of Abbey Dubbel
  • 5 gallons of Homegrown Pale Ale

I don’t think I’ll hit 200 gallons this year, but I’ll come close. The Pale Ale is going to use my homegrown cascade and nugget hops exclusively for both bittering and flavoring / aroma. I’m not going to dry-hop, but I’ll have plenty of late-addition charges to the kettle.

Meeting this friday… Woot! After the meeting I’ll be returning home to play hours of Resident Evil 4 with my best friend and tie a good one on while fighting hoards of monsters, the undead, and unholy possessed villagers. Life is good.

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